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Itchy Feet While Exercising

By Ronald McLendon, Jr. ; Updated August 14, 2017

Foot itch is an irritating sensation that can sometimes be accompanied by redness, flaking, swelling, soreness or scarring of the skin. While scratching can temporarily alleviate the symptom, it is not a cure. Continuing to scratch will ultimately result in skin damage, increasing irritation and chances of infection. Exercising can sometimes cause feet to become irritated, and the reasons for this occurrence vary. There are several causes of itchy feet during or after exercising; however, the most likely causes are dry skin or athlete's foot.

Dry Skin

Dry skin itches because it is easily irritated. Feet tend to sweat during exercise, which is the body’s attempt to cool warm skin. When sweat evaporates off your skin’s surface, salt remains, pulling moisture out of skin pores causing dehydration. Physical stress placed on your feet when running can also remove moisture from your skin.

Other causes of dry skin can usually be seen in people that have chronic diseases, such as peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, psoriasis or thyroid disease. Dry skin could also be caused by common reasons, such as age, geographical areas with low humidity or poorly fit shoes.

Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Symptoms usually involve itchy, red, flaky patches of skin. Peeling and cracked skin could also appear and usually does in between toes, on the heels and soles of your feet.

Use a pumice stone to remove hardened skin from your feet. Daily moisturizers and creams can help restore areas of dryness to normal condition.

Prevention of dry skin involves washing and checking feet daily, carefully choosing loosely fitting cotton socks, snug but not tight-fitting shoes and avoiding activities that could injure your feet. Medicated powder can also help relieve itching on your feet.

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Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is usually found in people with foot perspiration or wet feet trapped in shoes and socks. Fungus grows in these warm, dark and damp places and thrives in these environments. Fungus growth can be exacerbated by exercise as perspiration increases when you are active. As the fungus spreads to other parts of the foot, it irritates the skin, causing it to itch.

Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Athlete's foot symptoms involve itchy, red, cracking, burning, scaly skin that usually appears between the toes.

Common treatment involves over-the-counter anti-fungal creams or ointments.

Prevention includes washing and drying your feet after walking, allowing your shoes time to dry before wearing them again. Don't share your shoes with others, wear slippers in public shared areas such as pools, showers or gyms, and avoid tight-fitting shoes.

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